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Technology used in supporting learning activities

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft’ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to analyse the effectiveness of digital technologies used in supporting learning activities. Some of the areas that you should consider are discussed below.

Access to technologies

Technology can be a fantastic learning aid, however, to utilise it fully you will need to ensure that learners have access to it. We may assume that everyone has a laptop or mobile phone but this may not always be the case and you may need to provide these items to staff to undergo online training. If a team member is required to use their personal mobile phone for learning and development purposes, this may need to be specified in their employment contract.

As well as having access to technology, learners must also be well-versed in how to use them and so you may need to provide additional training to some team members to increase their ICT literacy.

The impact of e-learning packages in improving knowledge and skills

E-learning packages can be used to deliver training quickly, efficiently and with reduced costs. They are convenient and flexible because learners can access training from anywhere at any time. Furthermore, the progress of learners can be logged automatically when they complete a section of a training course, helping you to maintain your skills matrix.

However, e-learning is often limited to the assessment of knowledge and theory, with practical skills needing to be observed and assessed in person.

Access to work-based Internet

As an organisation, you may need to provide Internet access to staff members so that they are able to perform their roles. Without Internet access, team members will not be able to perform research, undertake e-learning or communicate electronically with others. Your organisation should have policies in place for the acceptable use of work-based Internet by staff as well as an agreement if staff are expected to use their own Internet provision for work purposes.

E-porfolios

E-portfolios are a method of storing evidence of the professional development of staff, including observations, reflective accounts, qualifications and certificates. They can be used to track the progress of learners pursuing qualifications and help to build your organisation’s skills matrix.

Webinars and podcasts

Webinars and podcasts are similar to e-learning because training and knowledge-sharing can be delivered over the Internet. However, these formats are usually scheduled so learners must be available at the time the training is delivered (although some webinars and podcasts may be recorded so that they can be viewed later). Webinars and podcasts are usually interactive and viewers can ask the presenters questions to clarify their understanding.

Conference calling

Similar to webinars/podcasts, conference calling involves a group of participants communicating via telephone. In recent years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, telephony has been replaced by video conferencing using software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

The impact of using technologies to support professional development

Whilst technology for the support of professional development has been available for over a decade, it can be argued that it was under-utilised within the health and social care sector until the Covid-19 pandemic made it a necessity as face-to-face contact was restricted. Coming out of the pandemic, many organisations have seen the value that technology provides and have integrated it into their business processes and system. Some offices have even closed permanently as the benefits of flexible working from home and connecting via technology have been realised.

This can reduce the costs of running a business as there are fewer overheads, but consideration should be made about how team members should be fairly compensated for the use of their own devices and Internet access if they are not provided by the organisation. Policies relating to the use of work-based technologies should also be agreed.

Although technology reduces costs and provides flexibility with regard to professional development, it may lose some of the personal aspects of face-to-face communication. In addition, some training (e.g. first aid) requires practical skills that are difficult to assess remotely.

Barriers to the use of digital technologies in learning

When implementing digital learning technologies within the workplace, there may be barriers that need to be overcome.

For example, undertaking training via e-learning can blur the lines between an individual’s personal and working life, creating an imbalance. Care should be taken to ensure that team members are able to maintain a good work-life balance. This could be done by having a strict schedule of when a team member is working and when they are not.

Team members may be resistant to learning in a new way and so you would need to explain the advantages of the technology and ensure that they have sufficient training in how to use them.

Technical issues can also prevent usage, so it is important to ensure that new technology is thoroughly tested to ensure that is robust before rolling it out. You may consider rolling out to a small subsection of your organisation in the first place to iron out any initial bugs or teething issues.

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